Here her feedback:
"From 18th May until 7th June 2015 I had the great opportunity to visit Dr. Andrej Trampuz’s research laboratory at Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery (Charité Hospital, Berlin). My visit had the main aim to investigate the activity of some antimicrobial peptides against biofilms of Staphylococcus epidermidis strains as part of my post-doctoral project, using the isothermal microcalorimetry method. This activity was supported by the Italian Research National Council “Short Term Mobility” program.
During my visit I got to know microcalorimetry in detail, and I increased my understanding of the potential of this technique for clinical microbiological research, with particular regard to the study of anti-biofilm therapy. Indeed, using this technique, I also got the chance to investigate the effect of selected antibiotics against Proteus mirabilis biofilm. Moreover, I evaluated the effect of some photo-activatable natural products versus Staphylococcus aureus biofilm, as potential photodynamic therapy in the prosthetic joint infection.
Microcalorimetry allowed me to monitor the effect of the antimicrobials against planktonic/biofilm bacteria in real-time. Moreover, since it is not only a versatile technique, but also a non-destructive method, it has been possible to evaluate the minimal bactericidal concentration for each compound by plating the microorganisms after the analysis of the heat flow.
During my visit I also had the chance to take part to the Workshop on Prosthetic Joint Infection organized by Pro-implant foundation. It was a very interesting and interdisciplinary workshop, characterised by stimulating discussion covering topics of significant interest for orthopaedics, microbiologists, infectious disease specialists and researchers.
As a microbiologist, I had the possibility to understand more in details the role of implant-associated biofilm, the modern principles of diagnosis and differential diagnosis of acute and chronic infections, the algorithms of treatment and prognosis. I especially want to underline the role of sonication as an innovative method for the diagnosis of biofilm-associated prosthetic joint infection. This method is very effective, simple and not particularly expensive, and therefore I will recommend it for the diagnosis of biofilm-associated infection in the diagnostic laboratory where I work.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Trampuz for being such an excellent host and giving me the opportunity to perform experiments using microcalorimetry, sharing with me his experience and knowledge in this field. In addition, I would like to thank all Dr. Trampuz’s coworkers, in particular Dr. Elena Maiolo, Sabrina Cabric, Alise Tarasova and Magdalena Czuban, for the friendly atmosphere and technical support they provided me with."
Mariagrazia di Luca, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy